Childhood obesity is increasing worldwide and is increasingly associated with metabolic syndrome (MetS). Our aim was to examine acylation stimulating protein (ASP) and its precursor complement C3, in normal, overweight, and obese Chinese children and adolescents, and the relationships with body size, blood parameters, pubertal development, family environment, and MetS.
Children and adolescents (n=1603) from 6 to 18 years, boys (n=873) and girls (n=730), including normal weight (n=603), overweight (n=291) and obese (n=709) were assessed for body size parameters, pubertal development, blood lipids, glucose, insulin, ASP, and C3.
ASP levels were increased in overweight and obese versus normal weight (P<0.001), while C3 showed little variation. This effect of overweight/obesity remained throughout early stages when boys and girls were separated by pubertal development or age, although age and pubertal status itself had no effect. Separation based on ASP quintiles demonstrated significant associations with blood cholesterol, triglyceride, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-Chol), glucose, insulin, and homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance in boys, and LDL-Chol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and glucose in girls. A positive correlation with mother's body mass index in boys and girls (P=0.002 and P=0.014 respectively) as well as birth weight (P<0.001) was noted. MetS was strongly associated with increased ASP, the presence of a single MetS factor (especially hypertension, central obesity, or hyperglycemia) was associated with increased ASP.
Changes in the plasma adipokine ASP in early obesity are associated with blood lipid and glucose modifications, family environment, and distinct MetS risk factors.